Lail Stockfish / Roundup
Maybe it’s the up-beat warm-up music featuring top 40 artists, or the large “Go Pierce, Go” banner painted on the grassy hillside at the edge of the pitch, or it could just be the line- up and coaching staff.
Whatever it is, Pierce’s women’s soccer team is on a roll, collecting yet another win Friday against the Santa Monica College Corsairs.
The Brahmas were up 2-0 when the referee blew the final whistle declaring another win for the still undefeated Pierce women’s soccer team, and putting an end to the physical match.
It was the ninth win of the season for the Brahma’s, and eighth consecutive shutout for goalkeeper Marissa Graska.
“It was a team shut out,” said Graska. “This team was very hungry to score and the defense shut them down.”
Pierce was the favorite to win against the less impressive SMC Corsairs’ (3-1-5), but it didn’t come easy.
The game had an exciting start with three consecutive Pierce attacks on the SMC net. The Corsairs made their own rebuttal, forcing a diving save that had the crowd bursting in cheers for Graska.
It became a battle of brute and determination, with both teams going head to head for loose balls, producing frequent whistles from the referee.
Three yellow cards were given in the second half, two for Pierce and one for the Corsairs.
“We knew they were going to be physical, we knew they had it out for us, everything we expected to happen, happened, “said Head Coach Adolfo Perez.
Vangsness who took a ball straight to the face said, “that’s their goal, to beat Pierce every time so we knew they’d be rough.”
Briana Behrad scored the first goal in the 28th minute, silencing the SMC cheering section.
“It felt really good,” said Behrad. “I worked so hard, we all work really, really hard. That’s probably why we win every game.”
Soon after, Erica Vangsness collected her 13th goal of the season, surpassing her last season total, and tying the Pierce all-time record for most goals scored in a season (12).
“It’s nice to surpass last season’s record, and my next goal will beat the all time goals scored record,” said Vangsess. “But my real goal is to win.”
Despite the win over former player SMC Head Coach Aaron Benditson, Perez was disappointed in the team’s performance.
“It’s always exciting to play someone I coached but this was a tough one, a very tough one, ” said Perez. “The only good thing about this game was that we won, but this was not one of our better efforts. We were out-worked; that’s the disappointing part.”
Benditson was not as disappointed in his team’s effort.
“We knew we were playing against a quality opponent… the goal was to make a great showing for ourselves and we did. I was happy with the back and forth, it was exciting and both teams had opportunities,” said Benditson. “They exploited our mistakes. That’s how the game works.”
The Brahmas are now at 10-0-1 for the season and 4-0 in the Southern Division of the Western State Conference.